UK frontline workers to receive hydroxychloroquine in clinical trial


Up to 10,000 NHS workers will receive anti-malaria hydroxychloroquine to see if it can protect them from the coronavirus in a new trial.

President Donald Trump sparked anger earlier this week when he announced he was taking the drug for prophylaxis, although there is no evidence that it works that way.

And the evidence as to whether it can even treat COVID-19 – the disease caused by coronavirus – is mixed.

British researchers believe that hydroxychloroquine has the best chance of working if it is used in prevention, which is exactly how it is used against malaria.

The trial will involve healthcare workers who come into direct contact with COVID-19 patients. Results are expected by the end of the year.

Brighton and Oxford hospitals will be among the first to participate in the global study, which will also recruit volunteers from Europe, Africa, Asia and South America.

More than 40,000 front-line workers around the world will participate in a trial to see if hydroxychloroquine, the antimalarial drug presented by Donald Trump as a

More than 40,000 frontline workers around the world will participate in a trial to see if hydroxychloroquine, the antimalarial drug presented by Donald Trump as a “game changer”, can really help fight coronavirus

Professor Sir Nicholas White said a randomized clinical trial is the best way to find out whether chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine is beneficial

Professor Sir Nicholas White said a randomized clinical trial is the best way to find out whether chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine is beneficial


Hydroxychloroquine – brand Plaquenil – is an inexpensive drug that has been used to prevent malaria and to treat lupus and rheumatoid arthritis for decades.

But there is currently no evidence to show that the drug can prevent patients from being struck by COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

Scientists also warn that there is no evidence that hydroxychloroquine, which has been touted as a wonder drug by Donald Trump, can even treat COVID-19.

Hope was sparked at the start of the crisis when a French study suggested that the drug could have antiviral and anti-inflammatory effects.

This sparked a wave of research around the world, Trump approval and emergency clearance from US regulators.

But other research has hit the drug, a Chinese trial last month found that it does not speed up recovery of COVID-19 patients.

And New York researchers last week said there was no benefit to taking the drug or combining it with the antibiotic azithromycin.

Leading doctors have warned that the drug can cause serious side effects and can even reverse the heart-beating process in time.

A trial in Brazil was stopped because a large number of patients enrolled in the coronavirus who received the drug developed these arrhythmias (abnormal heart beats).

According to WebMD, side effects may include:

  • Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea, dizziness or headache
  • Slow heart rate, symptoms of heart failure (such as shortness of breath, swelling of the ankles / feet, unusual tiredness, unusual / sudden weight gain)
  • Mental / mood changes (such as anxiety, depression, rare suicidal thoughts, hallucinations)
  • Hearing changes (such as ringing in the ears, hearing loss), easy bruising / bleeding
  • Signs of infection or liver disease
  • Muscle weakness, unwanted / uncontrolled movements (including tongue / face contractions), hair loss, hair / skin color changes
  • Hypoglycemia, severe dizziness, fainting, fast / irregular heartbeat, seizures.

One of the study’s authors, Professor Nicholas White of the University of Oxford, said, “We really don’t know if chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine is good or bad for COVID-19.

“The best way to find out if they are effective in preventing COVID-19 is in a randomized clinical trial.”

The study’s lead researcher in the UK, Professor Martin Llewelyn of Brighton and Sussex School, said that “a safe and effective vaccine could be far away.”

He added, “If drugs as well tolerated as chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine could reduce the chances of getting Covid-19, it would be incredibly valuable. “

It comes only a few days after the President’s decision to take hydroxychloroquine as a prophylaxis has been described as “an astounding and irresponsible act that could very well also amount to self-harm” and there are fears that his actions risk ruining the drug supply for people. with other conditions that need it.

Dr. Stephen Griffin, Associate Professor at the University of Leeds School of Medicine, also said that those who follow Mr. Trump’s example could not only put themselves at risk, but also deprive patients with illnesses chronic autoimmunes of their essential drugs.

The price of hydroxychloroquine is said to have increased dramatically as the availability of the drug has declined due to demand from those who believe it will prevent COVID-19.

Scientists say the drug has “very serious” side effects and that there is no evidence that it prevents or treats the disease.

The trial – which will involve 40,000 participants – is being conducted by the Bangkok-based Mahidol Oxford tropical medicine research unit.

But those running the trial said that chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine “could reduce the chances” of getting coronavirus amid fears of a second wave of infections.

Hydroxychloroquine is a prescription drug used for acute malaria and certain types of arthritis.

It can reduce inflammation, pain and swelling – and is widely used to treat rheumatic diseases.

It is a derivative of chloroquine, which is also used to treat malaria.

Leading doctors have warned that the drug can cause serious side effects and can even reverse the heart-beating process in time.

The British government has said that chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are not allowed to treat symptoms of COVID-19 or prevent infections.

He said the drugs should not be used outside of ongoing clinical trials that have not led to any conclusions on the safety and effectiveness of the coronavirus drug.

The first UK participants in the new trial can be enrolled today in Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals and John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.

Additional testing is expected on four more sites by the end of May, with a total of 25 locations open in the UK before July and more planned worldwide.

The team aims to produce results by the end of 2020.

Donald Trump supported the malaria drug, even telling reporters that he took it

Donald Trump supported the malaria drug, even telling reporters that he took it

The truth about hydroxychloroquine: a cheap antimalarial drug tested to treat COVID-19 has raised hopes – but the evidence shows that it can’t help after all and can even cause serious heart problems


Researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health examined data from 1,438 COVID-19 patients in 25 New York hospitals.

The study, published in JAMA last month, was observational and looked at the results of patients receiving different combinations of drugs.

About 25% of patients who have received hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin – another promising coronavirus drug – have died.

In comparison, the rate was 20% for those receiving only hydroxychloroquine alone and 10% for those taking azithromycin.


Last month, American and French scientists discovered that 90% of seriously ill COVID-19 patients receiving hydroxychloroquine developed cardiac arrhythmias.

An arrhythmia is an abnormal heart rhythm, which could be caused by a heart rate that is too slow, too fast, or irregular.

It is relatively common, affecting around two million people a year in the UK, but can increase the risk of life-threatening events such as a stroke or cardiac arrest.

Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital monitored 90 patients in the intensive care units, while academics at the University of Lyon analyzed 40 patients.

The two discovered similar results in JAMA cardiology, after examining the QT intervals – the time between contraction and relaxation of the ventricular muscles of the heart.

When this interval becomes too long, the patient has developed a dangerous form of cardiac arrhythmia, called atrial fibrillation.


Hydroxychlorouquine may affect the immune system of patients to fight infection, suggested a review in early April.

Harvard scientists analyzed 10 studies as well as anecdotal reports from doctors who suggested the drug could help a coronavirus patient.

The review found that many clinical trials were poorly conducted and that anecdotal reports had little weight.


Hydroxychloroquine, an antimalarial, did not speed up the healing of coronavirus patients in a trial in China, scientists revealed in April.

In a disappointing blow to the promising drug, doctors said it did not work as a remedy.

Patients who took it had fewer symptoms than others who were treated with them without medication, but their recovery time was the same.

They had tested hydroxychloroquine on 75 COVID-19 patients in hospitals and compared their illnesses to 75 patients who had not received the drug.


A clinical trial in Brazil had to be stopped early, it was revealed last month because the patients developed heart problems.

The Brazilian study, which took place in the Amazon city of Manaus, planned to enroll 440 seriously ill COVID-19 patients to test two doses of chloroquine.

But the researchers reported their results and discontinued the experiment after only 81 people received the high-dose treatment that gave them 1,200 mg a day.

One in four patients had developed heart rhythm problems and early data suggested that death rates were higher in these patients.


Hydroxychloroquine has improved the chances of survival and recovery for about 90% of patients treated, according to a group of doctors.

The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) presented data on 2,333 patients treated with hydroxychloroquine.

The results showed that 91.6% of those who obtained the controversial drug fared better after treatment, we learned in late April.


The combination of hydroxychloroquine with the zinc food supplement could create a more effective treatment for patients with coronavirus, a study suggested last week.

The researchers found that taking the medication and the antibiotic azithromycin increased patients’ chances of discharge and decreased their risk of dying.

This did not change the average time spent by patients in the hospital, the time spent on a ventilator, or the total amount of oxygen required.

The team, from New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine, says the results are encouraging but more research is needed.


Last month, French researchers discovered that hydroxychloroquine could treat coronavirus patients, raising hopes for a cure.

Thirty patients were treated with hydroxychloroquine for 10 days in combination with the antibiotic azithromycin.

Although very small, the study “showed a significant reduction in viral carriage” after six days.

And the results showed that the patients had a “much shorter average travel time” than patients who received other treatments.

Several weeks later, the study editor said the document “did not meet its standards” because it excluded data from patients who did not respond well to treatment.


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